Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lions, tigers and bears - Oh my! aka: Snow, rain and thunderstorms!

Last night while getting my gear together for today's "Trailblazers" hike, Thursday's weather forecast was ringing in my ears: snow, rain and thunderstorms. They may as well have been saying Dorothy's chant from the wizard of Oz, with an emphasis on the "Oh my!" That's how I feel about spending the day hiking in those kind of conditions. Isn't it interesting how a weather forecast can become larger than life? I wasn't sure I wanted to be cold and wet all day, but decided to buck up and take whatever nature and our group decided to do.
When I left this morning it was pouring rain, but no sign of snow on the ground, yay!
It was agreed that our group would hike the Hoypus hill trail near Deception pass. I carpooled with Marjan, Frank and Jan, as we were driving down I-5 south and it was pouring we were wondering what we were getting ourselves in to. The farther south we went the lighter and bluer the sky. By the time we pulled in to the Cornet Bay parking lot the sky was blue and the sun was shining.!
                                                    Yay for us :-)                                                              

 It was a wonderful 8 1/2 mile lowland forest hike. Our forests are so beautiful  and lush - with the stinging nettles - yuck, moss, ferns, huckleberry bushes, salal, douglas fir, hemlock and cedar trees. Even the slugs welcomed us in to a beautiful spring day.

conferring with the GPS
Time for lunch!
Me (Al & Frank behind me) - enjoying a nice rest break
In the photo below you can see our sunny ending - what a great hike!

Deception pass bridge in the distance
Cornet bay
So glad I didn't listen to the "Lions, tigers and bears" in my head,

"Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 22, 2011

My day with the Senior Trailblazers!

I've been a follower of Djan-ity's blog for a while now,
she has been an inspiration to me in her zeal for health and fitness.
She has also had her share of heart ache,
but has weathered these moments in her life with a strength that is quite admirable.
She is very honest and candid with her thoughts on these events in her blog.
Some of her posts also have accounts of her hikes with the Senior Trailblazers. This is a hiking club that is for members of the Bellingham senior center who are aged 50 and up. I really never thought of myself as a senior "yet", but was really itching to be a part of this group. Since I'm not a fan of hiking alone, I decided to join and see if this group had as much fun and was as fit as Jan had been reporting. There would also be the added bonus of meeting "Jan" and tell her personally how much I enjoy her blog. I had hoped that I was fit enough to keep up with these hardy souls, and was pleasantly surprised that I was. The plan for Thursdays hike was to go a hard 9 miles in the Olsen creek/Stewart Mtn. area, but the weather that morning (rain & snow on Stewart Mtn.) detoured those plans. Everyone agreed that Oyster dome would be a good alternative. We started hiking in rain and even though the oldest person on the hike was 81 years of age we really hiked at a very quick pace. The first part of the trail had several steep ups, and when we got closer to the Oyster dome there was snow on the ground and the decision was made to head over to Lizard lake for lunch. It was 37 degrees and we really felt that wonderful damp cold that chills to the bone, needless to say we didn't sit long for our break. We packed up and took the trail to where the hang gliders used to take off and on down the trail to the cars. I found out that one of the "seniors" carries a GPS unit with him, so he could give us reports of our mileage. We ended up going 10 miles! 
It was even a better experience than I had hoped it would be.
My fellow hikers!

Jan is the one in the foreground wearing
the blue vest.

view from the hang glider take off area
now I know why they all had gaiters on!
I made sure I asked what they would rate this new detoured hike, and was very glad that the report was "hard". Now I'm hopeful I'll be able to tag along on other great adventures with these wonderful new friends.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Medical benefits of weight loss combined with exercise

Last week I had an annual health physical and was blown away by the change in my test numbers. I shared them with my daughter and she suggested I post the results on my blog as a follow up also. I contacted my doctors office and asked if they had the lab results from before my weight loss and they said they would look for them and get back to me. So it has taken me awhile to get the info to post here, but here goes:

before my exercise and weight loss goal journey (click here to read about my 3 year goal & weight loss journey - began:

Pulse 83
Weight 220 lbs.
Blood pressure 133 over 84
Triglycerides 147
Cholesterol 250
HDL Cholesterol 50
LDL Cholesterol 171
TC/HDL ratio 5.0

As of April 12, 2011:

Pulse 56
Weight 161
Blood pressure 114 over 77
Triglycerides 53
Cholesterol 168
HDL Cholesterol 65
LDL Cholesterol 95
TC/HDL ratio 2.6

What a difference, I'm glad my daughter made the suggestion to me.

P.S. It occurred to me to put in a link from the Mayo clinic about healthy level numbers:

Monday, April 18, 2011

To choose life -

When we feel there is no way out and no hope for our lives what do we do?

Sunday my husband and I spent the day bicycling around the tulip fields in Skagit county. It started out cloudy with rain threatening, but turned into a glorious sunny day. While we were walking in the view gardens of "Tulip town" and Roozedgaarde", I was watching families with young children dressed in their boots playing in the mud and posing in the tulips for that perfect shot their parents were trying to capture. I was suddenly overcome by grief for the young mother and her children that can no longer have these moments together.

Here's the link about her tragic story:

The hope for a better life and a "new" tomorrow was dashed by her act of desperation. We can not even try to understand the amount of pain she was suffering in her life at that time that caused this to happen, or why she felt her friends and family couldn't help her out of the scenario she was in. It 's not even up to us to judge her and say she shouldn't have done this, we can only learn from her experience and remember that there are those out there feeling helpless, hopeless and desperate.

When our moment to step up and offer just that word of encouragement or hand of support comes,
will we be to busy to respond?

I snapped this picture while wishing LaShandra had been able to experience the warmth of the sun on her skin and view the scenery that absolutely would take her breath away while hearing the joyous laughter of  children as I was in that moment.

My wish is for us all to have "hope" for a better day tomorrow......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Whidbey Island half marathon results

 Wow, didn't know if it was going to be a go or not. Trained hard, ran lots of long weekend runs and then...stomach flu Friday am. Yuck, I almost cried thinking I wouldn't be able to do the run after all of the hard work I'd put in. Thankfully by about 4 pm I started feeling well again, so I pushed the electrolytes in the evening and all day Saturday. My husband and I agreed that he would go on without me if I wanted to bail at about the 6 1/2 mile mark where the Windjammer park is. The run comes back and finishes there.
Today I woke up feeling great so we got up at 5:30 am and drove to Oak Harbor for the 8 am start. When we got to Oak Harbor it was overcast and very windy. When I got home I checked out the wind at and here's the gusts from 7:56 am to 10:56 am. The gusts ranged between 28 and 40 miles an hour. No wonder I felt like I was running against a wall when we hit the wind head on!
Thankfully I didn't feel any ill effects (pun intended) from Friday, and with being sick and the wind and a pretty hilly course we still ran 1 min. and 58 seconds faster than our Seattle half marathon time last November.
By my watch (the results weren't up at the site when I posted this) - I started and stopped it on the chip mats, so it should be close, was 2 hours 54 minutes and 5 seconds. *Added note after posting, our official chip time was 2:54:15! It was great to be back, the last time I did this event I walked it with my dad 2 years ago. I weighed 187 lbs. then.

me and my dad finishing Whidbey Island half marathon (walking) 2009

Yes, I'm still revelling in my weight loss glory and the fun of being able to do
the things that I love again and feeling great doing them!

(see post about my 3 year weight loss goal here:

It was also nice running the whole thing with my husband this year and finishing with him!
Alas not one picture of us running together :-(

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Has Spring Sprung? Flowering trees -

I went out for a two mile easy run since our Whidbey 1/2 marathon is Sunday and I had to grab my camera as soon as I got back home to take these pictures. This is worth the wait after our long dark winter!!
BTW - it was hail/snow mix just this morning here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

220 lbs. to 140 lbs. - Getting fit & my 3 year goal to lose 80 lbs.

Wow I can't believe 3 years has gone by already.

This was me April 13, 2008 when I set my 3 year goal to lose 80 lbs. I weighed 220 lbs. that day, I couldn't go for long walks without tiring easily. I was depressed, anxious and unhappy. We were watching our youngest son do his first marathon on Whidbey Island. On that day I remembered what it felt like to be fit and run and "enjoy" life and living. I longed for that feeling and for freedom from where I had put myself physically and mentally. I was spending most of my days just sitting in the living room watching T.V. and eating, feeling too anxious to go anywhere or do anything. I have to give credit to what I feel started me in the right direction. I started seeing a naturopath the fall of 2007.  In February of 2008, at the advice of the naturopath, I was slowly weaned off of the 40 mg. of Paxil I was taking. His words were "what's the worst thing that could happen? That you'd have to go back on it again? Let's give it a try and see what happens."  To go off of my "security blanket" was one of the hardest decisions I have made in my life. He also took me off of my Prempro (synthetic hormones) and switched me to Bioidentical Hormones (natural compounded hormones).

The main reason I had been put on medications to begin with was because of panic attacks that I had started having after a camping trip at Yellowstone in the fall of 1999. I had awoken in the middle of the night feeling extremely claustrophobic and needing to see the light of day desperately. I stayed very anxious even after being at home for several days after the trip, so I went to my primary physician. He prescribed Prozac to see if it would help to calm me down. I continued to have panic attacks and anxiety so I was referred to a counselor, with no results and was then referred to a psychiatrist. After much experimenting with different drugs, including Lexapro, Lithium, and Neurontin,  He finally settled on the combination of Abilify and Paxil. I was on the Abilify and Paxil the longest. It's interesting that with all of the drugs I was taking they still didn't help with the depression or paranoia I had begun to feel. The paxil dosage really contributed to my weight gain. At one time I was on a drug cocktail of 7 different drugs. Needless to say I was a mess. 

I can easily say that - that visit to the Naturopath's office was the day the sunlight started coming back into my life. It's not easy going off of a drug that takes away your emotions and numbs you to react to life's experiences. As the drug wore off I was overcome many times with what it feels like to have emotions. I spent several weeks crying, well actually sobbing about everything. I forgot that when a person cries, pressure builds in the chest. I thought I was having heart attacks. Little did I know my emotions had been slowly dying all of those years. The awakening of emotions was an eye opening experience that allowed me to understand for the first time just how debilitating a drug like that is. It may serve it's purpose to never let feelings get out of control, but it also never lets the feelings even exists. I am left with random itching and a mild case of Tardive dyskinesis syndrome (for the definition - click here:  These are caused from long term neurological drug use. Not a fun leftover of the drug, but an ever constant reminder to me that I NEVER want to be back on that medication ever again.

I will do all of the work necessary to keep a mentally and physically healthy body.
I decided on a 3 year goal because I felt like it would become a lifestyle change that perhaps I could continue with for the rest of my life, rather than some quick weight loss gimmick. I started by trying to really watch what I ate, walking at the gym and riding the stationary bike, eventually worked my way back into running.  
I fell short of my three year goal of 140 lbs, but I did lose a total of 59 lbs.
 I will continue to choose to make good choices for a positive mental outlook,
healthy eating and my fitness each day. 
This has been the evolution of Kimberly - from 220 to 161 lbs.

I will still strive towards my goal and who knows maybe someday I will even look like this again :-)
me at 140 lbs.